Just Another Guy with Opinions

Michael Devlin gets 20 Life Sentences

Posted by shadmia on October 10, 2007

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One thing for sure is that Shawn Hornbeck suffered horribly at the hands of Michael Devlin. He was penetrated both anally and orally multiple times, for Devlin’s sexual gratification, in the 1558 days he was held captive. He had to beg for his life and promised to do anything Devlin wanted him to do, just to stay alive. He lived with the devil for 4 years and what he had to endure brings a gruesome and poignant meaning to making someone go through living hell. Every one of those 1558 days in captivity was literally a living hell for Shawn. Michael Devlin,41, took an 11-year-old innocent child and for 4 years systematically raped him physically and mentally. He made videotapes of the torture (in which Shawn begged him crying out in pain, to stop) presumably for his personal viewing pleasure.

Even that was not enough for Devlin. He went out again looking for another victim and found another youngster by the name of Ben Ownby:

Devlin spotted Ben in early January and decided to take him in part because Ben got off the school bus alone. Devlin stalked Ben for days, driving down the Ownbys’ wooded subdivision to get familiar with the area. On Jan. 8, Devlin packed a 9 mm pistol, a roll of duct tape and a hooded sweatshirt in his white Nissan pickup truck. He parked near Ben’s bus stop and watched the boy get dropped off. Devlin drove slowly down the gravel road toward Ben’s home, and the boy stepped to the side of the road as the truck approached. Devlin stopped and opened the driver’s side door. He asked Ben if he knew where a certain family lived. Ben said he didn’t know and appeared nervous. Devlin said he was worried Ben would run away, so he stepped out of the truck and showed Ben the gun he carried. He put his hand on Ben’s shoulder and ordered him into the truck.

For 4 days Ben was also brutally attacked by Michael Devlin until both boys were rescued by the police. Michael Devlin is a monster.

In 4 different court venues Michael Devlin had to answer a total of 86 criminal charges brought against him. He pled guilty to all charges and was given a total 20 Back-to-Back Consecutive Life Sentences. One thing is sure, Michael Devlin will die behind bars.

“He victimized him in so many ways that you and I can’t even imagine. I don’t know how long it will take to heal those scars if it all they will ever heal. I wished more than once that the law would allow an execution as punishment for the crimes he committed against my son,” explained Shawn’s mother Pam Akers.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Devlin — standing just feet away from Shawn’s weeping parents — admitted in graphic detail how he abducted Shawn in 2002:

After Shawn was abducted at gunpoint while riding his bike in rural Washington County, Devlin took the then-11-year-old to his apartment in suburban St. Louis where he repeatedly sexually assaulted the boy. Days later, Devlin took Shawn back to rural Washington County in his pickup truck, apparently intent on killing him. “I attempted to kill (Shawn) and he talked me out of it,” Devlin said. Devlin stopped the choking, but then sexually assaulted the boy again. Prosecutors said it was at that point that Shawn told Devlin he would do whatever was asked of him in order to stay alive.

“This boy made this contract, this deal with the devil, only to survive,” Washington County prosecutor John Rupp said.

Rupp said he was satisfied with the sentences Devlin received. “You heard it from his own mouth. You’ve heard what kind of a monster he is,” Rupp said after the hearing.

Devlin’s lawyers said the 41 year old Devlin took responsibility for what he did. One of Devlin’s lawyers, Mike Kielty, told us, “Mr. Devlin was not willing to put these children and their families through anything more. Mr. Devlin was not willing to put his own family through anything more.”

St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch was not impressed. McCulloch said:

“I find it grotesque that he would even suggest or anyone would suggest that he has some concern or care about these boys and that’s why he entered a plea of guilty. Devlin pled guilty for Michael Devlin. Devlin pled guilty for one reason and that was so that the entire world wouldn’t know the full extent of the atrocities that he committed on these boys.”

For more on the sentencing of Michael Devlin and video clips of his court appearance including the victim impact statements read by Shawn’s mother and step father: Click here


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11 Responses to “Michael Devlin gets 20 Life Sentences”

  1. Jim said

    Nobody, but nobody, should be sentenced to Federal prison for 2 life terms plus 70 years without a jury trial. Did you believe Mike Nifong, the prosecuting attorney in the Duke lacrosse rape case, when he said that his client was gang raped by the lacrosse team? Fortunately, that case went to trial and the players were vindicated. Unfortunately, Mr. Devlin’s case did not go to trial so we will never know, for example, why Shawn Hornbeck stayed with Mr. Devlin for 4 years even though he had every opportunity to leave. While Mr. Devlin was at work, the neighbors said that Shawn could often be see skateboarding in the street. Why did he not go home, or seek the help of a neighbor or the police who were just down the street? Shawn was 15 when he was found. A person that age knows if he is being abused or not. Something is not right; but the details will never come out because there was no trial. Also, without a trial, there can be no psychiatric testimony. We will never know what Mr. Devlin’s state of mind was or is now. Maybe he is not even competent to enter a plea of guilty for himself. By locking him away without a jury trial, we have done Mr. Devlin a terrible injustice. The prosecuting attorneys have vilified Mr. Devlin publicly and have called him a monster. One can only wonder how they lead the interviews they conducted of the 2 involved boys. Without the benefit of a jury trial, we will never know. Lets hope that the 2 boys, once they gain an adult perspective, feel no remorse for what happened to Mr. Devlin based upon the prosecutors rendition of their statements. Or the prosecutors themselves might be the real abusers. My point is this, nobody should be locked away forever without the benefit of a jury trial.

  2. shadmia said

    Jim, I hear what you are saying and maybe you are right. However when reading all the reports about Michael Devlin I did not get the impression that he was mentally unbalanced. He held down a job and appeared to lead a “normal” life, by that I mean there was no outward symptoms of mental illness or diminished capacity. He in effect admitted that he kidnapped and raped the two boys and especially in the case of Shawn Hornbeck over the course of many years. I don’t think there was any doubt of his guilt. I personally don’t think he pleaded guilty to spare the boys the circus of a trial but a trial, as you said, would have brought out a lot more details. I think he was just trying to avoid further embarrassment and publicity.

    As to why Shawn Hornbeck stayed with him is of course a matter of conjecture. There was a time when Shawn made a “deal” with Devlin to avoid being killed. Maybe it was out of some sense of honoring that deal that he stayed, I really don’t know. I think that would have been one of the first questions that a lawyer for Devlin would have asked if the case had gone to trial.

    After all is said and done I don’t think that Devlin could have been found innocent or that his sentence would have been reduced. Anybody who could do what he did to these two young boys does not deserve to be free. Whether it is 2 or 20 or 100 life sentences, the justice system needs to protect us from MONSTERS like Michael Devlin. We need to be sure that he has no chance of ever doing harm to anybody ever again. Michael Devlin will die in prison and that is a good thing. Some people would argue that he deserves the death penalty.

  3. John said

    For this sick crazed maniac,shoot him. But before shooting him tie him up in a public beating and let people spit , shoot rocks and torture him until he can’t stand it anymore then when the parents feel their rage and hatred come back towards him , give them the gun for Mike. Put him out of our lives. Wait !!!! bring all those other sexual offenders, kidnappers or whoever that scared are children for life and let them watch Mike die.
    Maybe a couple of these offenders or kidnappers they our let back out in the streets will think twice.
    And who knows why they let them back out in the streets? Maybe some Liberals are feeling sorry for these OFFENDERS or maybe some think …” aww ..the poor baby has been in jail to long..he paid his debt” WRONG !!!!! talk to the parents who’s kid was sexually abused and scared for LIFE !!!
    SCAR the living daylights out of these crazy people who want to kidnap or sexually abuse kids or anyone.

  4. Mrethiopian said

    May he suffer the same fate that he put those boys through, rape, beatings and to live in fear that at any moment he could be tortured and killed.

    Remember priest John J. Geoghan???

  5. dotcoop said

    as a mother, i am so angry!!! at
    THAT IDIOT!!! but i am so happy the boys are home! i really pray and wish the best to them both and to their parents, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. i really think devlin got off easy! now he can sit, and not work, get fed, and WE all have to PAY for the JERKOFF! he doesnt deserve to be in SO MUCH LUXURY, i think he deserves some psin or something.

  6. […] Michael J. Devlin, 42, was ultimately sentenced to 74 life sentences plus 170 years in federal prison. His crime: The kidnapping and brutal rape of two teenagers, Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Ownby. Although Ben was rescued shortly after being kidnapped, Shawn suffered for 4 years at the hands his captor. Read about it here […]

  7. Jen said

    Jim, it’s Devlin’s right to decide if he wants trial by jury. It is a right granted to every person in the US in any type of trial. He waved his right; he wasn’t denied it. Don’t pity his sentencing, he agreed to it.

  8. Angie said

    Really, how dare you question why a child didnt leave his abuser. What right do you have to judge anyone. I think until you walk in the shoes of an 11 year old child being abused and living in fear, you have no idea what you would do. It is easy to say, yeah he could have left, but you know what, we don’t know what he was told. He was an 11 year old child emotionally and over those five years was not allowed to grow and learn normally. Perhaps he was told his family would be killed, we don’t know and it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t change the fact that he was kidnapped, held against his will, raped, tortured. It doesn’t change it. This guy was a MONSTER and I am glad he is gone from society. I only regret he couldn’t get the death penalty, but I know he will pay even more in the after life.

  9. Elizabeth said

    As a survivor of child rape, I must say that there is some kind of strange acceptance that you receive from such abuse. It’s not as if we, (the abused), asked for it. But if it happens everyday for a long period of time, you tend to understand this your fate and no one will help, let alone believe you. Who does this to children?

    How dare you question a child who was not only kidnapped, and taken away from all who loved him, but brutally rape, and psychologically abused on a daily basis. Maybe you can not understand what his plight was because you are one of the lucky people who did not get violated as a child.
    It is not for you to understand, it is for you to have compassion and not question why he stayed, or why he did not attempt to leave. Just be thankful that you will never have the opportunity to find out these questions for your self.
    Why would one want to know these details? Do you think it makes you a better journalist? Well it doesn’t, it makes you weak, to not have compassion for a child who was tortured and raped and made to feel less of a person. You should be ashamed of yourself.
    It is people like you that make these monsters seem human. I personally think he should be thrown into General population and let his Karma come back to him. Allow the inmates to make his destiny and call it a day.
    Maybe he (Devlin) will know what it really feels like to be a sexual slave.

    May God heal these innocent children so they may grow up to be healthy members of society. There is a plan for us all.

  10. spoook said

    don’t you blame this on liberals, kay, cause i be the most liberal person you ever meet and I don’t feel one bit sorry for Michael Devlin at all. I just hate the fact that he’s in solitary. let him be everybody’s b*tch HUH!? and dude, don’t you dare judge that kid for not escaping because he’s the only one who knows what was goin’ on in his head cause of that ahole threatening him and his family and that kid prolly didn’t wanna die just so his momma could see him alive again. it wasn’t his fault, it was that Michael Devlin’s dude’s fault. but it’s sad cause it’s kinda like elisabeth smart all over again cause it’s hands across america for the white people… again. media don’t do crap for anybody else.
    and darn it jim, why give him a jury when he pleads guilty? and tell me what twelve people would tell him he’s not guilty!
    thanks, you ppl, you made me poed now.

  11. donna said


    You are an idiot! Were you ever raped as a child? Well I was, repeatedly, by my own father. Why did I stay until age 18? Because it does something to the inside of you, that makes you want to stay hidden from the world, from the first rape, Shawn would have felt like he could not go back to his home, like he somehow deserved what was happening to him. Devlin is a monster that should be killed!

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